Updated: Nov 10, 2020
This post was written by author, coach, speaker and advocate, Danielle Dobson.
Growing up in the Yarra Valley in Victoria and having access to the outdoors, I thought the bush
was my home space.
I loved building outdoor cubbies with my brothers and friends, going on adventures along the
abandoned rail track and riding my bike along the local trails.
After living in bustling cities all over the world for most of my adult life I found myself relocating
from the US to Thirroul with my young family in 2007.
I have faced many life-defining challenges over the past decade including a high-stress
relocation to Beijing for a year, a marriage break-up, re-building my identity, ensuring my three
kids are well supported as I raise them with their dad living oversees and minimal family
Through it all, the ocean has provided relief, release and renewal.
Swimming in the Austinmer pool one time when things were particularly tough, I reached the
end of the pool, looked out into the vastness of the ocean and in that moment, was struck by the
smallness of my problems.
The ocean also helps all of us (my sons and I) to appreciate the power of nature. Witnessing the
storms and the havoc it creates along the shoreline and in the ocean itself, then to see how
nature repairs and renews, helps us understand about ourselves.
Recognising we are a part of nature, we can learn that nothing is permanent and the storms will
pass and after the storm there is calm and a clarity.
The ocean has also been a great source of physical therapy too. Following a calf tear during a
hockey game in 2014, my Physio banned me from running and while I rehabilitated he
suggested swimming in the ocean.
Coming from the Yarra Valley, the thought of swimming in the cool ocean temperatures in May
filled me with dread. However, I wanted to get back on the hockey field and back to running so I
braced myself and started doing laps at the local ocean pool.
Not only has it been a life-changing new practice but I was back playing hockey in four weeks,
three weeks earlier than the Physio estimated.
So the injury resulted in an incredible upside!
The feeling of swimming in the ocean all year round is amazing and I have not looked back.
Another part of the ocean therapy is speaking with local regular swimmers. I have found that
each ocean pool has colourful characters who follow a regular routine.
I know if I go to the Austi pool at 8am I will see Jenny, Maureen and Rob. If I’m earlier, I will see
Michael, Fred and John. I have learned so much from my conversations with the regulars and it has been an integral part of building community bonds.
I have even left my swimming cap and goggles behind and had them delivered to my post box.
We’re so luck here in Wollongong to have the ocean on our doorstep, and to have access to
such beautiful, free, ocean pools.
Danielle Dobson is an author, coach, speaker and advocate. You can find out more in Danielle’s
new book, Breaking the Gender Code - which shows women how they can use what they
already have, to get what they actually want. In her book, Danielle gives practical and informed
tips on how to rewrite the gender code which creates pressures and limits our potential as
women, and provides tools and strategies to create individual solutions for your unique context.
Find out more at www.codeconversations.com.au